Thursday, March 15, 2012

You Stay Classy, San Diego: A Preview of Friday's Game

This is a complete and total rip-off of Bill Simmons, so I feel like I should say that right away. In fact I'm almost certain he's used Anchorman for this exact type of column.

Whatever, I'm not letting the opportunity of playing a San Diego based team go by without trudging out a preview based on Anchorman quotes.

"I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany."
To CJ Leslie, who is rightfully getting a lot of pre-game coverage after his fantastic play over the last month. Let's hope the spotlight of the NCAA tournament raises his game another notch though because the Aztecs are likely game-planning around stopping Leslie. The sophomore hasn't had many defensive game plans built around stopping him, so it will be interesting to see if he makes the right decisions as far as when to kick it back out and when to attack.

”Well, I could be wrong, but I believe diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.”
For the part of the NC State's back court not named Lorenzo Brown. Scott Wood, CJ Williams & Alex Johnson need to score on Friday - specifically they need to hit open shots. As great as Leslie and Brown have been, the Pack needs diversity on offense. Otherwise CJ Leslie is going to be double-teamed on essentially every possession.

”They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.”
In honor of State's free-throw shooting, particularly Leslie and Richard Howell. They are going to the line more than anyone else lately, and they need to do better than 60% of the time, every time. This is likely to be a close game, so late free-throw shooting will probably be a factor and the Pack has been awful in that department lately - blowing the Clemson game, giving Virginia way too many chances late and not cashing in on chances against UNC.

“Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast.”
State's transition offense is often the spark that ignites a run for the team, but the Aztec's have been effective all season long at stopping the break. In conference play they allowed double-digit transition points just twice, both times to UNLV. Look for the Pack to push on misses and of course on any live ball turnovers.

"I tried to get an interview with him, but they said no, you can't do that he's a live bear, he will literally rip your face off."
To Richard Howell, who really needs to avoid ripping off faces 60 feet from the basket. The Pack need him to not make stupid fouls and stay on the court and while its probably time to accept that he's always going to be who he is, we can always hope he has a few games in a row where he's making good decisions.

“I can barely lift my right arm 'cause I did so many. I don't know if you heard me counting. I did over a thousand."
Jamaal Franklin isn't afraid to wear out his arm shooting the ball for the Aztecs. The Pack defense will probably try to keep him out of the lane and make him hoist a lot of jumpers - as long as he's missing most of them, its a good strategy for the Pack.

"What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole... wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad; that's amazing."
Somehow a four guard line-up with one player over 6'5" is ranked in the top 25 in defensive rebounding. I can only assume this means they attack the defensive glass with everyone they've got. Franklin, who's listed at 6'5", is grabbing 22.5% of the opponents misses while he's on the floor. Only two other players in the country listed 6'5" or shorter have done a better job on the defensive glass.

"It's so damn hot.... milk was a bad choice."
Lorenzo Brown is a fantastic play-maker and passer for the Pack, but sometimes he loses focus and makes poor choices. He's been much better lately in that regard - turnovers that come out of trying to make a play are much more acceptable than the ones that come from not paying attention. He needs to keep that up and not revert to the bad version of Zo we sometimes saw in January.

"I'm in a glass case of emotion!"
San Diego State is taking its third-straight trip to the NCAAs, while no one on the Pack roster has been until now. The Aztecs are the more seasoned team when it comes to postseason play, and the Pack needs to put aside its excitement for the opportunity and focus on the game. I'm not a huge believer in these sort of 'immeasurable' aspects of games, but I do think its possible the Pack comes out a little over-aggressive before calming down once the game gets going.

Brian Fantana: I think I was in love once. 
Ron Burgundy: Really? What was her name? 
Brian Fantana: I don't remember. 
Ron Burgundy: That's not a good start, but keep going... 
Brian Fantana: She was Brazilian, or Chinese, or something weird. I met her in the bathroom of a K-Mart and we made out for hours. Then we parted ways, never to see each other again. 
Ron Burgundy: I'm pretty sure that's not love. 
Brian Fantana: Damn it. 
To the fans, who have had every opportunity to treat NC State like the Brazilian, or Chinese, girl in the K-Mart bathroom but instead stuck with this team through the entire Sidney Lowe era. Try to enjoy the game, this is icing on the cake of a very good opening season for Mark Gottfried.

"And I'm Ron Burgundy. Go f***yourself, San Diego." 
Hopefully, this requires no explanation.

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